Lent started this past Wednesday and this year, the pope has a different idea of what people should be “giving up.” Candy? Alcohol? Red meat? Facebook?
Nope. Instead, in his annual Lent letter, Pope Francis focused on another kind of temptation: indifference towards others.
“Indifference to our neighbor and to God also represents a real temptation for us Christians. Usually, when we are healthy and comfortable, we forget about others (something God the Father never does): we are unconcerned with their problems, their sufferings and the injustices they endure… Our heart grows cold. As long as I am relatively healthy and comfortable, I don’t think about those less well off. Today, this selfish attitude of indifference has taken on global proportions, to the extent that we can speak of a globalization of indifference. It is a problem which we, as Christians, need to confront.”
He reminds Christians:
“In this body there is no room for the indifference which so often seems to possess our hearts. For whoever is of Christ, belongs to one body, and in him we cannot be indifferent to one another. “If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honoured, all the parts share its joy” (1 Cor 12:26).”
Christopher Hale, executive director at Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, agreed with the pope in his article for Time adding,
“When we fast from this indifference, we can began to feast on love. In fact, Lent is the perfect time to learn how to love again…If you want to change your body, perhaps alcohol and candy is the way to go. But if you want to change your heart, a harder fast is needed.”
Read the pope’s full letter here.